Some California employees who have faced sexual harassment in the workplace may have also found that their company's human resources department did not protect them or investigate as effectively as it should have. According to some obervers, some HR departments are more focused on protecting high performers and top executives than responding effectively to sexual harassment complaints. HR departments may run into conflicts because of a lack of independence, and they may find themselves investigating the very people they work for.
Experts say that while many companies may have sexual harassment policies in place, they do not follow through in upholding those policies. Once an employee files a complaint, HR departments should ideally conduct investigations and ensure that there are consequences for sexual harassment. The employee should also not face retaliation for reporting harassment.
If a company fails to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual harassment, its reputation can be badly damaged. It is critical for top executives in a company to take sexual harassment policies seriously.
Sexual harassment and discrimination can take a number of forms including lewd comments, unwanted touching, sexually explicit materials in the workplace and coercion. Even if a workplace has a sexual harassment policy, affected employees may want to talk to an attorney about their rights, how to document the harassment and how to approach filing a complaint. This may help protect them if the employer does not respond appropriately or attempts to retaliate against them. In some cases, a lawsuit might be necessary. The company may offer to settle out of court or the case might go to litigation. The victims might be offered compensation and their job back if they were terminated.